Earth Day – free Soil ebook!

In celebration of “Earth Day” weekend, you can get my Soil ebook for free! The Secrets of Soil Building – Learn how to care for the Earth (the soil) today and every day. The coupon code for the free ebook is GJ98G (not case-sensitive). The direct link is https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/566895 This special pricing is good through Friday April

It’s Garden Planning Time

I know, I know, it’s the middle of the holidays. But garden catalogs are pouring through my mail slot, and that means it’s prime time for planning your cool season garden.

After the winter solstice, all those cool season veggies will flourish, and you’ll have amazing harvests. Kale. Collards. Favas. Peas. Chard. Parsley. Cilantro. The list is long and yummy!

Here are a few of the garden-planning  tools we offer — all of them customized for our Los Angeles growing conditions!

What is a more-sustainable garden?

garden by mconnors via MorguefileHere’s how our gardens can become part of solving some of the world’s greatest problems.

LIVING ECOSYSTEMS.  Humanity is part of  a vast network of life on this tiny planet. The planet’s ecosystems operate as intricate interconnected and interdependent systems, so vast that scientists are only beginning to glimpse their magnitude and complexity. “The environment” is a life-support system – for us as well as for all living beings. Without functional ecosystems, we have no life.

As we, humanity, become more conscious, it is becoming increasingly apprarent that all design must support ecosystems. From pollinator populations to soil organisms, Nature needs our help.  

How do you get rid of Bermuda grass?

Many popular garden books promote methods such as the “Lasagna method”: You layer materials such as cardboard, black plastic, compost, mulch, etc., on top of grass and create a garden. In Southern California we must evaluate such recommendations carefully:

  • Does the person who is telling of great Lasagna success live in a year-round growing season, or do they have the benefit of a frost to help eradicate weeds and pests?

  • Does the storyteller have Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon)?

  • Are they speaking of long-term success: Have their observations endured beyond Bermuda’s regrowth timespan or were those Lasagna layers very recently applied?

Here in Southern California, without frost of any significance and with nearly every backyard being populated with Bermuda grass, in my experience there is only one long-term viable solution:

Easy seedsaving without worries

It’s easy to get seed from your vegetables.  Just let Nature do her thing.

It’s a little bit more challenging to be sure that you’re getting the kinds of seeds you want.  Plants (kinda like outdoor cats) make offspring quite willingly, with any other plant that will participate.

In a small garden, one really easy simple trick is to grow one variety of each species.  You’ll get lots of diversity in your food and nutrition, and you’ll get a much greater assurance of growing good seeds.

Here’s the “Seedsaving without worries” handout (pdf) that I wrote for this weekend’s talk at the Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA).  It has slightly different content than this post.